It Is Not Your Job to Engage Them

Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations such that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony, they’ll have a symphony of engagement.  

It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to excellence and help employees be great.   

Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability. 

Often bureaucracy, cynicism, personal agendas and politics start to poison company cultures, especially when employees start attaching interpretive stories to factual situations. People begin to personalize feedback, think that the challenges are far more reaching than they really are and then they believe the situation will never change. The ego starts to cry out for attention. The need to be right, heard and affirmed takes over good judgment. 

Leaders can help employees bypass their ego before it triggers a regrettable emotional response and the emotional stir and action paralysis that follows. Instead of just being a sounding board when employees are experiencing discord, help employees become self-aware by encouraging them to be a third-party observer of their behavior. Coaching questions help with this. 

Eleven Coaching Questions to Help Employees Develop Self-Awareness:

  1. If you were watching yourself on TV right now what would you see?
  2. What is true about this situation and what is an assumption?
  3. What would great look like right now?
  4. What is your plan to accomplish what needs to be done in spite of the obstacles?
  5. If an actor/actress were playing you in a movie right now who would it be?
  6. What might be going on under the surface? 
  1. Why are you passionate about the company mission? How do your values align with the company’s values? 
  2. What signature strength do you have that can bring value to this situation?
  3. How would you tell the story of your career trajectory thus far in five sentences or less?
  4. What are your suggested solutions to challenges you perceive the company may have?

    11.  What tone of voice and body language do you want to have to convey executive presence? 

I was in South Africa recently where most of the people are severely oppressed and under-resourced. Yet they are hard working, smile and happy. In mind that is excellence. That is greatness. 

  1. If you want an actionable tool to help plan your next career move here is Mary Lee Gannon, Executive Coach's FREE Career and Life Planning Tool for 2020

If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted and ineffective watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your transferable skills and 3) create a career portfolio that sells you before you even get an interview. If you don't know where you will be at the end of the year, you are already there.  

Your coach,

Mary Lee 

P.S. Feel free to forward this email to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.  

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Welcome! Thanks for signing up!

You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!